Palm OS is dead

I was cleaning up the address book on my PDA the other day when I suddenly realized that Palm OS is going to die pretty soon! Yes, I think its days are counted and here’s why.

Programming for the Palm OS platform has a very distinct “embedded” smell to it. Memory management is a mess, supporting different screen resolutions is a major pain in the butt, and instead of a real file system developers have to deal with this stupid notion that everything is a database. There might have been reasons for it a few years ago but not anymore. And Palm fails to recognize this fact and deal with it appropriately.

By no means I am an expert in Palm OS internals; I had only a brief encounter with it as a developer, but when I look at my Sony Clie UX50, I don’t understand why oh why all these limitations. I remember my first computer - it had a 66 MHz processor, 4 MB of memory, 210 MB of disk space and yet it ran a multi-task operating system and all bells and whistles that came with it. Why on Earth does my PDA lag behind? It has a CPU twice as fast, a separate co-processor for dealing with multimedia (which it does pretty well, thanks to Sony), twenty-five times more RAM, a few times roomier “disk”, etc…

If the course of things sticks to Moore’s law for at least one year longer, Palm OS is going to be so out of touch with reality that it won’t make any sense developing for it whatsoever. Heck, maybe that’s why Sony is retrieving itself from this market?